Google Drive Collaboration Cheat Sheet

Even if you have been using Google Drive for multi-user collaboration since the day it came out, there is always more to learn. Below are a few tips and tricks I learned while researching the topic for a complete (but quick) guide to Google Drive Collaboration for Attorney at Work:

Using an Existing File to Share

If you upload a Microsoft Office document to Google Drive it automatically converts to a Google document,  sheet or slides (unless you are using the Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides Chrome extension), but it can be downloaded to a .docx format when you are finished editing (go to the File menu and select “Download as” to see all of the options).  If you have a Microsoft Office document that is heavily styled or formatted, though, you will likely lose some or all of the formatting.

Turn on Sharing: The Invitations

If the invitee does not have a Google account she will be invited to create one. One wrinkle: If the invitee does have a Google account, but you used a different email address when inviting her to collaborate, she will need to request access to the document from the email associated with her Google account.

You might not want everyone to have editing rights. You can choose to give invitees edit capability, comment-only, or view-only rights. No matter what level of editing rights they have, they must log in to access the documents. If you click on the (tiny) “Advanced” link in the sharing dialog box you will see more options, such as “Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people” and “Disable options to download, print, and copy for commenters and viewers.” Toggle these on and click “Save changes” to further refine user rights.

Multi-User Editing

Once you have established permissions and invited collaborators, invitees can open the document and begin typing. If several people are in the document at the same time you will notice that their identities will appear at the top of the document as avatars. You can have real-time chat by clicking on the speech bubble icon next to their avatars. You can follow changes made by other users in real time, too, because each user is associated with a color. You can see a colored cursor with their name hovering over it, as their edits appear. If you want to see the last place another user edited, just click on their avatar and to jump to their last edit.

Comments and Suggestions

Like MS Word, comments are preserved with the document. Clicking on a comment in the comment pane will take you to the place in the document the comment references. Users in the document can respond to comments by clicking on the comment box and typing in the “reply.” Once a comment has been responded to and users want to dismiss the comment, simply mouse over the comment box and click the “Resolve” button that appears there to remove the comment thread and archive it. Resolved too soon? Click on “Comments” at the top of the screen, scroll to the closed thread and click to “re-open”.

Much like the Review features in Microsoft Word, Google has “Suggesting” (equivalent to Word’s Track Changes feature).  In the upper right, in the same toolbar as the editing features (like bold, italics, etc.) click on the arrow next to the pen icon and choose “suggestions”. Now, changes will show inline on the document, color coded to the user and also appear in the Comments pane on the right side of the document. There is no accept all/reject all workflow, instead users must accept or reject each change. Users with Comment-only permissions can make suggested changes to the document as well, though only users with edit rights can accept changes.

If you upload a Word document that already has tracked changes, those tracked changes will be converted to suggestions in the Google document. Likewise, suggestions in a Google Doc saved back to .docx and opened in Word will appear as tracked changes.

Version History

One last useful feature to mention in Google docs collaboration is the Revision history. Go to File – See revision history to open a panel that shows all edits and revisions to the document and who made them. You can click on the timestamp in the right panel to see previous version of the file and revert (restore) to previous versions. Restoring to a previous version doesn’t eliminate any versions, but merely moves it to the top of your revision history.

If you want to just see new changes since you last opened a document click on “See new changes” from the File menu. Like versions, added text is highlighted, and deleted text has a strikethrough. This feature is only available for docs.

Conclusion

Google Drive for collaboration with multiple people is as simple or as sophisticated as you need it to be. It reduces reliance on email, addresses version control and is a great way to get a project started.

Quickly Change Letter Casing in Microsoft Word

It was there all along, but you may not have noticed it: the capitalization menu in Microsoft Word.

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Quickly change the casing in any word document by highlighting the selected text, mousing over to the Change Case menu and click the dropdown menu.

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You can select sentence case, lower case, upper case, capitalize each word, or try the odd toggle case. Simple and no more retyping.

Hiding Posts and Unfollowing Friends on Facebook

Do you have a Facebook friend who, at certain times of the year, posts too much about sports, politics or religion and you don’t want to see them in your News Feed, but you don’t want to unfriend them? Facebook has come up with a way for you to silence these contacts, but remain friends with them. This means you can still visit their profile and post on their wall if you wish, but their updates won’t appear in your News Feed. There are two ways to do this: “Hide Posts” or “Unfollow” the person.

You can do both on the News Feed itself. When you see a post on your News Feed that you would rather not, click the “V” in the top right corner:

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You will see a few options. I can “Hide post,” meaning that this particular post will disappear from my feed, and Facebook will use its enigmatic algorithm to determine how to show me less content similar to this in the future. My friend, Justen will still appear in my feed. But if Justen has offended me, and I don’t want to hear anything he has to say on Facebook anymore, I can click “Unfollow Justen.” This means his posts will no longer appear in my News Feed. He and I will remain friends, and I can take any action as his friend. I can still see his posts if I go directly to his profile.

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If this post violates Facebook’s standards, you can click “Report post.” Facebook will then review the post and potentially review it. The friend in question will not know you reported them.

Another way to unfollow someone is to go to their profile page directly and click the Following tab:

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From here you will have the option to click “Unfollow.”

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Now your News Feed will be filled with news you actually want to see!

Customize Chrome Start Pages

If you are using Google’s Chrome browser for the desktop (and why wouldn’t you?) did you know you can have it open to whatever page – or pages – you want? If you like to see your Gmail when opening the browser in the morning or headlines from Crain’s or the weather for the day you can set Chrome to open one or many pages to get you going. Or, perhaps you would like to continue where you left off from the previous browsing session? Read on to learn how!

By default the Chrome start page (the page Chrome shows you when you launch the browser) shows the Google search bar and thumbnails of the websites you most frequently visit. However, you can change that to open any page or pages that you want.

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Open Pages on Start in Chrome

 

To set the browser to open a specific page or pages when you launch you will need to be signed into Chrome. Then in the top right corner click on the Chrome menu (three horizontal lines stacked on each other). Click Settings – On Startup – Open a specific page or set of pages. Then click “Set pages” and enter the web address of the page(s) you want to see when you open Chrome. Then click “OK”.

 

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Continue Where You Left Off in Chrome

If you would like to see the last tabs you had open before you closed the browser click on the Chrome menu in the top right and then click “Settings”. Under “On Startup” select “Continue” where you left off.  If you allow cookies to be saved you will still be logged into any websites you were visiting before. If you do NOT want to be automatically signed into these pages in “Settings” go to “Show Advanced Settings” and under “Privacy” click “Content Settings”. Under the “Cookies” section choose “keep local data only until you quit your browser” and then click “Done”. When you close your browser you will be logged out of all the sites you were logged into. This is a good security measure, especially if you share you computer.

In addition to the start page, Google’s Chrome also has a Home page you can enable and customize. This is located next to the left of the address bar. In “Settings” go to “Appearance” and check “Show Home button” and below that click “Change” to choose your homepage.

Finally, the Bookmarks Bar in Chrome will link you directly to your favorite sites. When adding bookmarks click on the star icon in the address bar then choose “Bookmarks Bar” from the drop-down menu. You can add folders (and subfolders) to the bookmarks bar too! If you want to add a bookmark or folder of bookmarks just go to the Bookmark Manager (CTRL + Shift + O in Windows; CMMD + Shift + 0 in Mac) and drag and drop the icon or folder into Bookmarks Bar.  Be aware you have limited space in the Bookmarks Bar so choose wisely. If you can’t see the Bookmarks Bar go into “Settings” and under “Appearance” choose “Always show the bookmarks bar”.

Bookmarks Bar in Chrome

Bookmarks Bar in Chrome

Use Ctrl+F to Search Data with Ease

If you’re confused about what CTRL+F is, you are not alone – according to Dan Russell, a search anthropologist at Google, 90% of people do not know how to properly use CTRL+F to locate a word in a document or on a webpage. This tool will save you time and the embarrassment of missing a keyword or phrase that should’ve been replaced. Whether you are using your browser or your word processor, CTRL+F will speed your work up immensely.

Ctrl+ F works wherever you are: web browsers (Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.) word processing programs (Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, etc.), or  PDFs viewers like Acrobat Reader. Pressing the keyboard keys “CTRL” (“Command” on a Mac) and “F” at the same time will help you find any specific phrase, clause, or word you are looking for by typing them into a box that appears on your screen. The “find” box may appear in different locations on the screen depending on which program you are using – but it will always appear.

In A Web Browser

When searching through an online document or a webpage for specific mention of a word, phrase, or number, CTRL+F can save a lot of time. Simply press the keys CTRL and F and enter the desired term, phrase, number, word, or clause into the Find box that appears. In Internet Explorer your search term will be highlighted and each time you select “Find Next” the search will move through the document highlighting the usage of the designated word, number, or phrase.

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For instance, say you need to find the contact information for a specific judge in the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, but you only know that his first name is John. Go to the court’s website listing of judges in this division, and then you can use CTRL+F to accelerate your search. Enter “John” in the search bar and press <Enter>. The search will bring you directly to any mention of “John” on the page. Pressing <Enter> again will bring you to the next entry of “John” on the page if there is one.

In Microsoft Word

When working in Microsoft Word, CTRL+F opens the Navigation pane and you can search for a word, phrase or number. You will see all of the instances of your search term appear in the Navigation pane with the word in bold and can quickly jump to that portion of the document. Take it one step further and use the Navigation pane to find a word or phrase – and then replace it! From the Navigation pane click on the “carat” (arrow) to open a toolbar with more options, including Replace.

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For example, the client’s total damages have increased and a complaint must be updated before filing suit. Rather than locating each time the initial damages are mentioned within the complaint by scrolling through the document, you can quickly make the corrections by using CTRL+F. Just key CTRL+F,  type in the original dollar amount, click on the carat to show Options and click on Replace. The original amount will appear in “Find What”. You can then add the updated amount in the “Replace With” field. If you want to replace any incident of the number, phrase, or word in the “Find What” field, select “Replace All.”

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There may be cases where you do not want to “Replace All” but only “Replace” some. For example, a brief cites Wickard v. Filburn in several locations, however sometimes the citation is not as appropriate as that of say, Horne v. Dept. of Agriculture.

“Replace All” would not work in this example because the initial phrase of “Wickard v. Filburn” would still apply in many of its uses. Instead, select “Replace” and let the find feature bring you through the entire document. When you find items you would like to replace, select “Replace” again; when you find items you want to leave as is, select “Find Next” and move on.

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Conclusion

Once you get comfortable using CTRL+F in your searches and writing, you’ll wonder what took you so long to learn this important skill.

Tech Tip: Create A Table Of Contents From PDF Bookmarks

Bookmarks in a PDF are very helpful for readers to navigate to different sections of a document. They also lets the document creator highlight areas for readers to “jump” to without having to page through the document. Whether you are using Adobe Acrobat or Nuance Power Converter Pro, the process to create bookmarks is nearly identical. You can add bookmarks manually  by selecting text in the document and press keys <ctrl+b> to add that text as a bookmark, or you can also have either program recognize Microsoft Word’s Styles and automatically add headers and subheaders as bookmarks. Microsoft Word Styles can also be used to generate a table of contents in the originating Word document and in the PDF version of the original document. However, there are many times where the source documents have no table of contents or several documents are combined into a single PDF.  Lawyers may want to also generate a hyperlinked and printable table of contents, and Nuance’s PowerPDF Advanced will easily create a hyperlinked table of contents from the PDF bookmarks you create.

Once you have created your bookmarks in Nuance PowerPDF Advanced, with the bookmarks view opened  click on the wrench icon in the Bookmarks tools menu.  Toward the bottom of the options that appear click to  create a “Table of Contents”. Use the settings to choose how it looks and how many levels deep to display. Once those decisions have been made click “ok” and then decided where you want the Table of Contents to be (first page, after the cover page, etc.). Voila a hyperlinked, automatically generated paginated table of contents will be inserted into your document.  Once you have created the TOC you have options to update it, or export it as a separate document in PDF.

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Create Table of Contents from Bookmarks

 

Review or Not To Review?

Does your firm have a Facebook page? If so, you should know what page type you selected when you set it up. Different features are available on your firm’s Facebook page depending on what category you select, and each has their own advantages. To find out what type you have, sign into your page, click on About, and then click Page Info on the left. Under category, it likely says either “Local Businesses” or “Companies & Organizations.”

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Selecting “Local Business” as your page type allows you to have a map and contact information displayed. It also allows you to enter your practice areas as subcategories and displays them prominently over your cover photo. These features are not available if you choose “Companies & Organizations”. The “Local Business” option also creates a Ratings and Reviews section, meaning that anyone can leave a review or give you star ratings. You may want to have this feature if you’re practicing consumer law since good reviews on Facebook mean more clients. If you’d rather not let clients be able to leave reviews, switch the category to Companies & Organizations.

You can change your page type category as often as you’d like. To do so go to your page and click the “About” section. Mouse over next to “Category” so the blue “Edit” pencil appears.

 

Click “Edit” and then change your category from the dropdown menu. In this example my page is currently a Local Business, and I want to change it to a Company & Organization.

Page Categories

 

When you’re finished, click “Save Changes” and your new page features will take effect.

How many days do I have again?

It’s hard to calculate how many days are between a certain day and another, especially if they are far apart. If your deadline to file a motion is 60 days before your hearing date on October 12th, 2015, what date is that? Luckily, there are several ways to determine that calculation. We’re going to cover Excel, Outlook, and a web tool called Timeanddate.com.

If you frequently need to keep track of court calendar deadlines, services like Deadlines.com (formerly Deadlines on Demand) or Juralaw (if you practice in Illinois) can keep the dates straight for a price. There are several ways to count how many days for free, however, and best of all you can use these tricks for all your deadlines—not just court specific ones.

 

The first is with Excel. In cell A1 type the date of your hearing: 10/12/2015. In cell B1 type “=A1-60” and hit enter. Excel will calculate the date automatically, changing the cell contents to say “8/13/2015.” If the date of your hearing changes, replace the date in cell A1 and the date of your filing deadline will automatically change with it.

excel screenshot

 

To find out if that date falls on a weekend, click cell B1, go to the cell formatting drop down menu under the Home tab and select “Long Date.”

long date excel spreadsheet

 

The cell data will change to tell you what day of the week 8/13/2015 is. In this example it is Thursday, but if it were on a weekend you could adjust your deadline as needed.

If you don’t have Excel handy, you can also add or subtract a date on the web. Timeanddate.com has several different calendaring calculators. Use their date calculator to add or subtract from a date. Still using the example of 60 days until your hearing date on 10/12/2015, enter 10/12/2015 as your start date. Select “(-) Subtract” from the dropdown menu, and enter “60” under “Days.”

subtractdateweb

Press “Calculate new date.” The result will be “Thursday, August 13, 2015.” Timeanddate.com also features calculators to determine the number of days between two dates, time duration between exact times and finding the week number of any date.

Finally, there’s Outlook.

Enter the October 12, 2015 hearing for your client on your calendar. After the appointment is on your schedule, bring up the Go To Date box by right clicking the date (or typing Ctrl – G if you’re a keyboard shortcuts person).

hearing for my client

In the box that appears, place your cursor before the date and type “60 days before”

60 days before

Press OK, and you will be brought to August 13, 2015, where you can now enter a new event for your motion filing deadline. You can also find out dates in the future by typing “x days after.”

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